Good Fans Boo Bad Teams

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

A snarky tweet to my Twitter account the other day make me think hard on the subject of what makes a good sports fan. And I have come to the conclusion that the more we bitch and moan about the state of our teams, the better the fan we are.

If you live in the Midwest and just read that line, you most likely are rolling your eyes and dismissing the Philadelphia sports fan, as per usual, as rude, crude and miserable, the type of person who would – dare I drag this tired, worn cliché out again for the millionth time – yes, boo Santa Claus. But I can’t help it if we view our sports world through second level thinking and a bigger prism.

The tweet said the following: “Yeah, @mikemiss975 likes to rip all the Philly sports teams. But when they win, he’ll be right back on the bandwagon.”

But isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Read more »

Jonathan Papelbon Doesn’t “Feel Much Like a Phillie” — But Why Would He?

Jonathan Papelbon, Joe West

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon argues with Umpire Joe West after being ejected from the game against the Miami Marlins in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 14th, 2014.

Jonathan Papelbon does not feel all that much like a Phillie.

The Phillies closer told the Boston Globe this before yesterday’s game against the Red Sox. “The Red Sox are a part of who I am, man,” he told the paper. “I don’t really feel much like a Phillie. … Boston’s where I was born and raised. It’s kind of like that, you know. It’s the city you were born and raised in.” He also said “that time has come and gone” for him to be embraced by the Phillies fanbase.

After he picked up a four-out save in the Phillies 4-2 win last night, Papelbon gave an excellent, somewhat bizarre postgame interview where he talked about horses and money. Read more »

Union Just Benched $400K Goalkeeper

Apr 5, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; Confetti falls as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi (92) reacts after allowing the game winning goal to Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth (not pictured) during the second half at Sporting Park. Sporting KC defeats Philadelphia Union 3-2

Apr 5, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; Confetti falls as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi (92) reacts after allowing the game winning goal to Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth (not pictured) during the second half at Sporting Park. Sporting KC defeats Philadelphia Union 3-2

Last summer, the Philadelphia Union made a big deal for a goalkeeper: The team spent $400,000 in transfer fees to sign Raïs M’Bolhi, a goalie who made a big splash at the 2014 World Cup. Thanks to M’Bolhi’s efforts, eventual champions Germany needed extra time to beat Algeria.

The Union signed M’Bolhi to a three-year deal. Now, having played just nine games for the Union, M’Bolhi has been benched. Coach Jim Curtin wouldn’t say if M’Bolhi would ever return to the club, but it didn’t sound like it from his comments at the press conference today. John McCarthy will be the Union’s new starter in net.  Read more »

You’re Gonna Need Hard Liquor to Watch This Phillies Team

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The Phillies announced this week that they will now sell wine and hard liquor at home games this season, and not just at McFadden’s at the park. In related news, I don’t have enough column space to write the jokes flowing from that announcement.

You will need to drink early and often this season to stomach a Phillies team that could be as bad as any we’ve seen in these parts. With a lineup bereft of power and defense, and — after Cole Hamels — a pitching rotation that is feeble and the definition of journeyman-like, these Fightin’ Phils could lose as many as 100 games. Read more »

One Philly College Basketball Team Is Still Playing

Miami Hurricanes guard Davon Reed (5) keeps Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) from the net during the second half n the semifinals of the 2015 NIT college basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden. Miami Hurricanes won 60-57.

Miami Hurricanes guard Davon Reed (5) keeps Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) from the net during the second half n the semifinals of the 2015 NIT college basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden. Miami Hurricanes won 60-57.

Quenton DeCosey got a pretty good look.

Trailing Miami by three in the closing seconds, Temple passed the ball around the perimeter looking for a good shot. DeCosey fired off a shot at the buzzer. It clanked off the back iron.

That’s how the season ended for the Temple men’s basketball team, which finished 26-11. It’s a pretty good turnaround — even though the team did not make the NCAA tournament — considering last year’s team finished 9-22. The 26 wins is the most for Temple since 2011, when it also won 26. Read more »

Philly Players All Over This Map of America’s Most Popular Retro Jerseys

Top-Selling Mitchell & Ness Jerseys in 2014

The top-selling Mitchell & Ness jerseys in 2014 (Graphic via Mitchell & Ness)

Mitchell & Ness recently released the top-selling retro jerseys in each state from 2014. And a man from Lower Merion has the best-selling jersey in seven different states: Albert C. Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation!

Okay, okay, it’s actually Kobe Bryant, NBA superstar and Philadelphia native with the tumultuous relationship with the City of Brotherly Love. His 1996-97 Lakers jersey — from his rookie year — is the top-seller in Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Read more »

Jimmy Rollins: Out of Philadelphia, I’m Now “Free”

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins against the Chicago White Sox during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins against the Chicago White Sox during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch.

Last year, Jimmy Rollins passed Mike Schmidt for the most hits in Phillies history. I happened to attend the next day. Rollins led off. He popped up.

“I’ll be so happy when he’s gone,” a fan behind me yelled. “The most overrated player in Phillies history.” It’s impossible to quantify just who is the most overrated player in the long history of the Fightin Phils, but it’s probably not the man with the biggest hit in Phillies history. But there has always been a segment of the fanbase that doesn’t like Rollins. He pops up too much. (Yeah, his infield fly ball numbers are a little higher than average.)

Sometimes, he doesn’t run out grounders. Last year, Pete Rose criticized Rollins for caring about individual statistics. (Yes, Pete Rose, the man who calls himself the Hit King.) The comments on this CSN Philly piece about Rose’s comments tell the story. One fan even calls Rollins a “cancer” on the team!  Read more »

The Villanova Rout of Lafayette in 8 GIFs

Mar 19, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dunks the ball against the Lafayette Leopards during the second half in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Consol Energy Center.

Mar 19, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dunks the ball against the Lafayette Leopards during the second half in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Consol Energy Center.

By some oddsmakers, the Villanova Wildcats were 22-point favorites coming into their Round of 64 game against the Lafayette Leopards. They covered by halftime.

Villanova opened up a 49-26 halftime lead and rolled to a 93-52 victory over an overmatched Lafayette squad. The Wildcats put six players into double figures and shot 63 percent from the field. They made 11 three pointers and held the Leopards, the second-best three-point shooting team in the country, to 4-of-18 on threes.

“We were afraid of them,” coach Jay Wright said on TV after the game. “And when these guys are afraid, they play hard and they play together.” Yeah. Villanova led 11-2, 34-13, 63-30, 75-34 and so on. Read more »

5 Reasons You Should Root for Villanova in the NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

I like Villanova’s basketball team.

I realize this is not a popular opinion for all basketball fans in Philly. Villanova is the Duke of the local basketball scene: It’s an obnoxious private school with smart kids, plus it seems to win all the time. It’s in the suburbs. Its two big local rivals (Temple and St. Joe’s) hated Villanova a ton even before the Wildcats’ recent dominance of the Big 5.

But I like the Wildcats. They’ve played good, entertaining basketball since Jay Wright became coach in 2001. He’s been rumored to be taking better jobs — sometimes, even with the Sixers – but has stayed with the Wildcats. They’ve been a tournament team all but one year since the 2004-05 season. For the last decade, Villanova has been the class of Philadelphia basketball — even if they are in the suburbs.

Even the program’s scandals are benign now. Twelve years ago, Villanova suspended 12 players for using a Villanova phone code to make unauthorized calls. Can you even imagine this type of scandal today, with cell phones and Skype?

With this in mind, here are five reasons to root for Villanova this tournament. Read more »

The Sixers’ Futility Was a Clue on Jeopardy! Last Night

Great, now your grandmother knows the Sixers started 0-17 this season. Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers 0-17 start was a clue on Jeopardy! last night in a category called Sports Jeopardy. That category also had clues about a long jumper struck by a javelin, skier Vinko “The Agony of Defeat” Bogataj and Gilbert Arenas pulling a gun on a teammate.

So, actually, now your grandmother knows that there are a lot worse things that can happen in sports than starting the season 0-17. Read more »

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